30 Jan 2015

Judge shortage in Samoa

5:18 pm on 30 January 2015

A Parliamentary Select Committe in Samoa says there are not enough judges to address the number of matters brought before the courts.

Court house in Samoa

Court house in Samoa Photo: RNZ / Mary Baines

The Samoa Observer reports that the Justice, Police and Prisons, Land and Titles Committee raised the concerns in their report to the Legislative Assembly.

The report says there have been a number of complaints filed against the Ministry from the public due to a shortage of Judges.

It says included under the Supreme Court is a new division that conducts Tribunal Hearings and figures show an increase in criminal matters and civil matters.

The committee says it's concerned as to whether there is a sufficient number of Judges to adjudicate over matters.

It says if this continues there will be problems.

The committee also commended the practice of bringing Judges in from overseas on a temporary basis.

It says this is an important practice, given that there are matters that cannot be considered by a Samoan due to conflict of interest, as well as the availability of higher capacity and qualifications overseas.